It’s the sunniest time of the year, which means that we all need to be extra vigilant about protecting our skin from harmful UV rays. Just last week, the U.S. Surgeon General declared the rise in the incidence of skin cancer a major health problem. His report cites a 200% increase in the U.S. over the past four decades. While the U.S. has especially high incidence, skin cancer is a worldwide concern. Globally, almost 3 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and more than 132,000 of these are new cases of melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer.
Take these proactive steps to save your skin:
Stay away from tanning beds
Studies now show that indoor tanning causes nearly 10% of all melanoma cases in the United States. The World Health Organization called indoor tanning devices cancer-causing more than four years ago, yet they are still legal and widely used by men and women of varying ages. This is the most avoidable source of skin cancer—take the Surgeon General’s advice and stay away from those salons!
Seek the shade
You can still enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery from under a beach umbrella or porch awning. Plus, you’ll likely stay cooler, hydrated, and comfortable for a longer period of time in the shade.
Wear a hat and protective clothing outdoors
We know that shade is not always an option. Make sure to wear a hat and clothing that covers your shoulders, even if you are planning to be in the sun for a limited amount of time. A few minutes gardening, walking the dog, or strolling outside can be harmful on unprotected skin.
Lather on the SPF
Most people associate sunscreen with a day at the beach or on the tennis court. However, we should all be wearing aminimum of SPF 15 every day and SPF 30 when we plan to spend a significant amount of time outside—especially during these peak sunny months and peak hours of the day when the sun rays are the strongest—10am to 2pm. There are even clothing brands that sell SPF clothing these days and the way they are designed you don’t have to sacrifice style for safety. Look them up!
Know Your ABCDEs
Early detection is crucial for the treatment of skin cancer. You should have a full body skin check once a year and monitor your skin for any suspicious bumps, moles or lesions consistently. If your moles fit any of the following five descriptions, make an appointment with a dermatologist:
- Asymmetrical in shape
- Border is uneven
- Color is inconsistent throughout
- Diameter is larger than ¼ inch (6mm)
- Evolving in shape, size, elevation, color, or any trait at all
We hope you follow these guidelines and continue to enjoy the sunshine safely! For tips on staying hydrated during the summer heat, read our past newsletter. Home Care Assistance always has your health and wellness in mind!